Al Mezan Condemns Deportation of Hanaa’ Ash-Shalabi to Gaza; Reiterates Its Condemnation of Administrative Detentionand Expresses Its Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike

At approximately 3:20 pm on Sunday 1 April 2012, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) deported administrative detainee Hanaa’ Yihya Ash-Shalabi, 30, to the Gaza Strip, following an ambiguous agreement under which she will spend three years in the Gaza Strip before returning to her place of residence near Jenin in the West Bank.  She is being deported to the Gaza Strip in order to bring an end to her hunger strike.

Hanaa’ Ash-Shalabi began an open-ended hunger strike upon her detention by Israel on Thursday 16 February 2012, shortly before she was sentenced to six months’ administrative detention and jailed at HaSharon prison.  She continued her hunger strike for 44 days before the current deal was reached.  Ms. Ash-Shalabi’s health condition was described in a recent press release issued by Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, which following a medical examination and blood tests found that Ms. Ash-Shalabi was “in danger of imminent death.”

It should also be noted that dozens of Palestinian prisoners went on hunger strike in solidarity with Ash-Shalabi and in protest against Israel’s arbitrary administrative detention and other violations of detainees’ rights.  According to the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, the number of Palestinian detainees on hunger strike stood at 29 prisoners as of last week, before its lawyers were prevented from visiting detainees.

The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights reiterates its expression of solidarity with Ash-Shalabi and other Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.  It also reiterates its condemnation of the gross Israeli human rights violations committed against Palestinian detainees, including expanding use of administrative detention, solitary confinement, medical negligence, denial of family visitation rights, and other acts in contravention of human rights principles, particularly the United Nations’ Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

Al Mezan strongly condemns Israel’s forcible deportation of Ash-Shalabi to the Gaza Strip, in an agreement that gives her no option but to abandon a part of the rights guaranteed to her under international law and human rights principles.  Human rights are non-negotiable, irreducible, and inalienable.  Al Mezan views the deportation of Ash-Shalabi under current conditions as a gross violation of international humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids forcible transfer or deportation of any person from their country.  International human rights law also forbids arbitrary detention and deportation, and grants all people freedom of movement and residency.

Al Mezan stresses Ash-Shalabi’s right to return to her home, and calls on the international community to promptly intervene to ensure her return and to end Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian detainees’ rights, including its regime of administrative detention.  Al Mezan calls on human rights defenders around the world to express their solidarity with Palestinian detainees and to support them in their struggle for freedom, justice, and dignity, and to work to bring an end to the practice of arbitrary administrative detention.